Ortigas Bike Patrol Unit on Duty!

“Conventional yet efficient!” exclaimed one bystander pointing out some men in uniform pedaling around Emerald Avenue on a Monday afternoon. Their full gear getup resembled that of police officers in the 90’s—they are known as the “Ortigas Bike Patrol Unit”, one initiative of Pasig City local government that is centered mostly in Ortigas Business Center.
The group is composed of 15 personnel, most of them were previously traffic aides, routing along Ortigas Center, Julia Vargas Avenue, Santolan Avenue and A. Rodriguez Avenue. Founded on March 11, 2016, each member has a bike as mode of patrol transport. Their official first day started on March 28, currently prioritizing areas along Emerald Avenue, East Bank Road, Brgy. Manggahan, and De Castro Subdivision during 8am to 5pm.

Enforcing bike lane rules and making sure that car owners respect traffic policies are among their major tasks. Offenders, such as motorists parking illegally are being penalized according to the law. “At first, we counsel [illegal parking] violators,” an enforcer explained. “Then we (will) issue corresponding penalty depending upon the gravity of offense.” When it comes to cyclists, they tend to be more lenient, “Proper and complete gears such as helmet, head light, and tail light are all essential to ensure safety.”
 

The group is currently working on their schedule and full coverage. One of their major goals is to increase their numbers after a few months of implementation.

Police bicycles are already common in rural places and even in temperate urban areas in countries like Australia, Canada, UK, and US. Based from the journal, “Bicycle Patrols: An Underutilized Resource”, a patrol car would have 3.3 public contacts at an average hour and 7.3 contacts with bicycle patrols. This study tells us that bicycle patrols are more visible than patrol cars when it comes to the average enhanced mobility or to the range of activity level.

In an exclusive Bikes Magazine interview on March 29 with MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) Chairman Emerson S. Carlos, he has affirmed that project sustainability and public participation are both laudable factors for a healthy “road sharing” environment in the Philippines. Traffic congestion, especially in EDSA is another major concern to expedite. He explained that instead of building more roads, one feasible solution to heavy traffic is for the government to offer new mass transportation incentives and to further encourage the commuters to ride a bike. Carlos also mentioned that Pasig and Marikina are among the most proactive cities that promote and enable cycling advocacy in Metro Manila.

The local government of Pasig has a weekly event called, “Bike for Life” that is being held in front of Pasig City Hall. Bikes are being rented out and the focus is on the health of the elderly, although everyone is welcome to participate. Meanwhile, “Carless day”, another go-green program is being held once every month, aims to eliminate harmful vehicle emissions and to lessen traffic in the metro.

“Hopefully, more projects like these can be put into practice by other local government units,” stated a concerned motorist. “Community involvement is the key to empower commuter-healthy and effective road regulations.”




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Photographer/Artist
Photographer: Marco Solomon | Correspondent: Loxley Menguito | Writer: Alvin Jabrica
Published
3 years ago
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